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How Does Earned Wage Access Work?

Earned wage access is an employee benefit and financial wellness program that enables employees to access their salary as they earn it, rather than the usual bi-weekly paychecks or monthly wages.

At this point in time, when the term “Great Resignation” is thrown around in the business sector, companies continue to find ways to retain employees.

And offering employees an option to get a hold of their salary before the scheduled pay date may be a powerful tool to keep them for longer. This is probably why earned wage access (EWA) has been popular recently.

What is earned wage access (EWA)?

Earned wage access is an employee benefit and financial wellness program that enables employees to access their salary as they earn it, rather than the usual bi-weekly paychecks or monthly wages.

EWA is also referred to as instant pay, on-demand pay, or earned income. Employees who access their payment before the company’s scheduled payday will deduct the amount from their total earnings at the scheduled salary release.

Laws and regulations that surround EWA vary by state. Therefore, it is best to check with your state to know more about earned wage access laws for employers.

How does earned wage access work?

Earned wage access allows employers to support their employees’ financial wellness. Having round-the-clock access to their salaries can mean not having to overdraft on their bank accounts or pay exuberant amounts for penalties.

It can mean bills are paid on time and their home pantries are replenished more promptly.

Companies execute this financial wellness program by integrating it with HR and payroll systems. This way, employees can easily access their wages through mobile devices, and employers can track deductions.

This also ensures that employers can accurately track and deduct accessed salaries before making the earned salaries available.

What are the benefits of EWA?

More than half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Giving employees access to their salary whenever needed can alleviate the burdens that come with it. Here are a few ways earned wage access benefits companies and employees.

Positive workplace environment

When workers are stressed about money woes, it translates into their performance and attitude at work. In addition, it can inevitably affect how they interact with their colleagues and superiors.

By implementing EWA in your workplace, you can get financial stress out of the way and let your employees focus on their jobs and enjoy their time at work.

Higher retention and strengthened loyalty

Needless to say, when employees feel that they are heard and cared for, they tend to stay loyal to the organization. A stronger sense of devotion can translate into higher retention rates.

And higher retention rates mean more savings by not having to hire and train new employees. Moreover, prospective employees can also find an EWA program very attractive.

This program is a great incentive and can bolster your organization’s ability to attract new hires.

Lower absenteeism, higher engagement

With financial stress out of the way, employees are less anxious and tense about home life. This means more engagement and higher attendance rates among employees.

Financial stability of employees

More importantly, your employees will likely stay out of debt traps or eventually be debt-free when given a chance to access their salary as needed. Lack of emergency funds causes people to remain in debt, and earned wage access can help address that.

What are the current limitations of EWA?

Since earned wage access is a reasonably new concept, its benefits to employees and employers are only based on a few years of research, thus not statistically significant.

Moreover, there are only a few providers that support earned wage access technology. Over the years, we can also expect laws to change or limit how employees can access their wages.

EWA providers, moreover, may also start charging employees for early wage access. As for security, mobile apps for salaries and other company financial information are vulnerable to data leaks and breaches.

Which companies have made EWA available to US employees?

Instant Financial

Formerly known as PayHero, Instant Financial helps businesses give employees daily access to their wages at no cost to the employees. This helps empower employees by giving them control over their finances while assisting companies in increasing their retention rates.

Grit Financial

With the same goal of empowering employees and keeping them longer in the company, Grit Financial helps businesses offer employees the option to get their salary at the end of their shift.


With the mission to build a financial system that works for employees, Earnin allows workers to withdraw small amounts of money from their paychecks days before their scheduled payday — no fees, hidden charges, or interest. What is more interesting is that it is a community-supported app relying on users’ tips.


This company aims to empower employees to participate in the economy they’ve contributed significantly to. They offer their products and services directly to both employers and employees. In addition, they provide individual employee users a Visa debit card that allows them to access their salary two days in advance.

Final Thoughts

Earned wage access has many benefits for both employees and employers. Although a relatively new concept, its future is promising and can potentially empower employees to manage their finances better.



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